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J-Talks: Finding Japan in the Midwest

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Thanks to generous support from the Sasakawa USA/USJETAA Mini-Grant Program, JETAA Chicago is pleased to announce the first of two webinars in our series, J-Talks: Strengthening Ties Through Dialogue, centered around the themes of identity, cultural understanding and leadership, as experienced by JET alumni and individuals with meaningful connections to Japan.

Save the date for our first webinar on Thursday, January 28th from 7-8:30 PM CST! We will focus on the hidden roots of Chicago's Japanese community and the role of the Midwest in bridging US-Japan relations. We will be joined by three speakers from across the Midwest who will lead interactive discussions and answer audience questions.


  • Erik Matsunaga, a writer, researcher and martial arts instructor, will lead us on a virtual tour of Chicago's former unofficial "Japan town" located in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.

  • Dustin Henrich, President of JETAA Heartland, will discuss the unique connection between Independence, Missouri and Higashimurayama, Japan and ways the JET alumni community can continue to build US-Japan relations after returning home.

  • Jo Oyama-Miller, Board President of Madison-Obihiro Sister Cities, Inc., will discuss the history of her organization and how connections between Madison, Wisconsin and Obihiro, Japan have been maintained for more than a decade.

RSVP required via Guestlist!

*This event is open to the public, including JET alumni and Friends of JET (FOJ).

Questions? Contact us at

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Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Alumni Association of Chicago
Connecting JET alumni in the Midwest - Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana
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